short for camera, a.k.a. webcam, Web cam, CAM can also refer to Computer-Aided Manufacturing
An inexpensive, simple video camera that sits on top of or next to your computer monitor, it is designed to send live and recorded video as well as still pictures over the Net to one or more users. It can also be a digital camera placed somewhere, anywhere, in the world, streaming video to a Web site (or other portable device) so that users can see live footage of certain events. The "cam" suffix can be applied to many words to describe specialized cameras, such as "a nannycam," which is used inside a home to monitor a babysitter's activities.
Historical perspective: In 2013, The Washington Post reported that the FBI can secretly activate any computer’s webcam and view a room without turning on the indicator light! According to a former top official of the agency, that tactic has been used mostly in terrorism cases and “serious” criminal cases, said former FBI official Marcus Thomas.
And in 2014, according to documents provided by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, it was reported in The Week that the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, have “intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of Internet users” since at least 2008. The documents laid out a surveillance program code-named “Optic Nerve” that gathered “still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases.” The program, an effort to improve the intelligence agencies’ facial recognition software, appears to have chosen images randomly. In 2008 alone, GCHQ collected webcam stills from more than 1.8 million Yahoo accounts around the world, “including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications.”
NetLingo Classification: Net Hardware